August 05, 2013

Mosquito Bites and West Nile Virus

Mosquitoes Can Carry Disease 

Have you noticed all the mosquitoes lately?  Their bites are annoying, but can also carry disease.  One serious disease in this area is West Nile Virus.  Typically, a bite can cause a soft, pale bump that becomes pink or red.  It may take up to two days to appear.  The area usually itches.  Less than 1% of mosquito bites carry West Nile virus.  Of those, only 1% cause a more serious infection.  Symptoms of the infection are, fever, headache, muscle weakness, body aches, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands, rash and sensitivity to light.  The itching can be lessened by applying a cold pack or calamine lotion, but the more serious symptoms require treatment from your doctor.  Those at risk for more serious complications are the elderly.  

Protect Yourself from Mosquitoes 

The best approach is prevention.  Most bites occur at dawn or disk, and around areas of standing or stagnant water. Insect repellants are popular but must be used properly.  DEET, a pesticide, blocks a mosquito's ability to find people who've applied it.  It is available at concentrations up to 35%, but a 10% concentration is sufficient protection for 2 hours.  Concentrations greater than 10% should never be used on teens or children.  It also needs to be kept off children's hands, and never used on infants.  When you come indoors, be sure to wash skin with soap and water to remove any remaining repellent.  In areas with many mosquitoes, long pants, long sleeves, hats, light colored clothing and covering an infant seat or stroller with mosquito netting is also advised.

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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